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Navalny, WHO and Thunberg nominated for Nobel peace prize

Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, the World Health Organization and climate campaigner Greta Thunberg are among those nominated for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

All three are backed by Norwegian politicians who have a track record of picking the winner, while outsiders for the prestigious award include former US President Donald Trump.

Thousands of people, from members of parliaments worldwide to former winners, are eligible to propose candidates for the award.

Nominations, which closed on Sunday, do not imply an endorsement from the Nobel committee.

Norwegian politicians have nominated the eventual laureate every year since 2014, with the exception of 2019, Henrik Urdal, Director of the Peace Research Institute Oslo, said.

“The pattern from recent years is quite stunning,” he said.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee, which decides who wins the award, does not comment on nominations, keeping secret for 50 years the names of nominators and unsuccessful nominees.

But nominators can choose to reveal their picks.

According to a survey of Norwegian politicians, nominees include Thunberg, Navalny, the WHO and its COVAX programme to secure fair access to Covid-19 vaccines for poor countries.

Thunberg was named as one of “the foremost spokespeople in the fight against the climate crisis”, with the campaigning group she co-founded, Fridays for Future, also receiving a nod.

Navalny, nominated by Russian academics, was named for his “efforts for a peaceful democratisation of Russia” by Norwegian former minister Ola Elvestuen.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the battle against Covid-19 is also front and centre, including a nomination for the GAVI vaccine alliance.

Other names put forward include Belarusian activists Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Maria Kolesnikova and Veronika Tsepkalo for their “fight for a fair election and inspiration for peaceful resistance”, one nominator, Geir Sigbjoern Toskedal, said.

Freedom of information is a recurring theme with nominees including the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists; former Charlie Hebdo journalist Zineb el Rhazoui; news website Hong Kong Free Press; the US-based International Fact-Checking Network; and Paris-based Reporters without Borders (RSF).

Other nominees include former US President Donald Trump, NATO and the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).

Also on the list is Aminatou Haidar, for her peaceful campaigning towards an independent Western Sahara, the International Space Station and the International Scout Movement.

The 2021 laureate will be announced in October.

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